Lord Newborough's blog June/July 2016
June and July are best described as an action packed month, first the football and I regret to say that in the office we had one traitor who supported England and dared to bring the white ensign into the office and dress my dog Truffles up in the flag. Sarah, who many of our restaurant customers might speak to on the phone regarding customer orders stuck her neck out against intense opposition but soon had to concede and support our valiant lads in a fine spirited attempt to bring the ultimate trophy to Wales. Well played lads, we are all very proud of you.
One big event held in London every year is the London food festival, held in Regents Park, where the good and the mighty in the restaurant world all gather to promote their restaurants in London. Rhug exhibited here for two years under the Welsh Government umbrella and it was an exciting but very costly event to be involved in, so going it alone is no longer an option. Joan, our sales manager and her daughter Lisa can be seen below comparing notes as we attended one evening to try and capture some more business for Rhug. Many of our customers were at the show and it was a great opportunity to see them all in a short space of time.
Believe it or not water, or lack of it, is sometimes and issue in our part of North Wales and here you can see another successful borehole being drilled in order to locate water under ground to feed properties at Rhug. In this case a water source supply of 9000 gallons per day was struck which will be used to substitute a spring supply in the dryer summers. This water will supply the main house at Rhug and ten other properties on Rhug Estate.
Other happenings at Rhug are the Bentley and the Porsche clubs who have regular meetings at the conference room by the farm shop and here you can see the new four wheel drive Bentley Bentayga SUV, a mean machine ideally suited to driving round the farm in if one could only afford one. Very impressive and a fine sight in the car park.
One of the difficulties at Rhug is to get staff together for a team building exercise, with the retail business open for seven days a week and 364 days a year getting everyone together is a challenge. Rona Newton my PA and ex Emirates Airline took the bit between her teeth and arranged an evening event at Glan y Gors international go-karting track down the road from us and we all ended up having a highly competitive evening on the circuit combined with a BBQ.
It turned out that everyone was more competitive than one could ever imagine and one or two dark horses entered the race with Matt from the cutting plant coming in as a clear favourite being a regular visitor to the track and actually owning his own kart, then there was Rona an undeclared go-kart racer from her days working for Emirates where she was included in their A-team. Other strong contenders were Catrin operations manager for the farm shop and of course Gareth Jones the farm manager who was runner-up to his son Huw last year. The racing was fast and furious, Joan dropped out after a completing a valiant first heat on the grounds that she worked out that there were safer ways to enjoy herself than racing round a go-kart circuit with a gallon of petrol between her legs!!!
After a number of hotly contested bouts the last ten fought it out in a gruelling last heat and Gareth steamed away of the field to take the chequered flag and 1st place on the podium. Rona ending top girl with 4th place overall.
By kind invitation from Daylesford Organic and Carole Bamford we were invited to attend Agricology meeting at Daylesford. This very valuable forum was the brainchild of Carole who strongly supports everything to do with sustainable food production. The day covered many important aspects of production on an organic farm including dairy, beef, sheep and vegetables. We were able to listen to some very interesting speakers, who covered all aspects of sustainable farming. During the farm tour we where able to see and hear first hand from those involved in the management and productions of the various crops.
Another bonus of the day was to be able to show my team Daylesford farm shop which is undoubtedly the best and most impressive farm shop in the country. Carole Bamford has done so much for the organic cause. She has set a standard befitting to what we produce and has led the field in packaging and presentation. This was an all inspiring day and we have a lot to thank the Daylesford team for.
Then a quick dash to London to attend an evening in the House of Lords given by the Humane Slaughter Association who have been solely responsible for promoting the humane slaughter of animals in this country and round the world. Something very close to my heart. We are lucky being organic producers that all animals have to be humanly slaughtered and every animal has to be the first of the day to be slaughtered so they are not hanging around in the holding pens. This means minimal stress to the animal and reflects greatly in the quality of the meat.
June has just been formally declared the wettest June on record so we are all left wondering where that hot summer that was forecast has got to? It has certainly made farming difficult and has pushed any chance of hay making right into the Royal Welsh Show week, iust what most farmers in Wales don't want!!! Our only advantage at Rhug other than an abundance of grass, is that the hydro plants on the Estate have kept running.
I was lucky enough to have an interesting visit arranged by Dr Norman Jones to me Richard down at Corwen train station. Richard has been the moving force behind much of the extraction work that has taken place with Llangollen Railway and his latest and maybe his final project is the final extension of Corwen station. It is planned to have a proper platform and a junction enabling the engine to transfer from one end of the train to the other. This means that the engine can pull the carriages back to Carrog where they can be turned round and continue on their return journey to Llangollen. It was good to see the work first hand and discuss the possibilities if anything of what part Rhug can play to attract people to disembark in Corwen, benefitting the town as well as Rhug. It might be that a package can be put together to ensure passengers have time in the town and at Rhug encouraging others to do like wise. The team have done a great job and are anxious to see it all works well for everyones benefit.
Last but not least lovely Sally who works in the office offered to look after my lovely puppy for a day and a night whilst I made a mad dash to Athens and back, we agreed that I would let my dog Truffles, now known as Lady T into the office at 2.30am to picked up by Sally at 7.00am to go for a walk with her and her lovely black lab Harry. Lady T was not best pleased by our plans and made her protest well known to all and here is a picture of one room in the office by 7am!!!!
I had a text through that said, “Now you are in trouble” and my heart sank even before I opened the picture!!!
Wishing you all a very happy summer.
PS. If any of you are heading to Athens and want a wonderful place to stay here, it's quite the best B and B I have ever stayed in and the land lady Maria makes you feel totally at home and has fitted the apartments out beautifully.